Executive Summary

PR News Digital PR & Marketing Conference

June 6-8, 2016—Ritz-Carlton South Beach, Miami


June 6, 2016

Opening Keynote Presentation: How to Make Customers and Employees Your Content Stars

Brooks Thomas, social business advisor, Southwest Airlines

  • Social media measures our successes and failures
  • Resources are great, but smaller companies have agility
  • Utilize Employee strengths
  • Empower People to do the right thing
  • Train everyone for a digital world
  • Convert social sensations into marketing campaigns
  • Refine your distribution to be upwards and across
  • Brand Journalism: turn your work force into a functioning newsroom

Case Studies: Digital Content Strategies That Senior Leaders Love

Kimberly Jaindl, head of digital marketing and advertising, Mission Systems and Training, Lockheed Martin

  • Get to know reporters online before meeting them offline
  • Use Tweetdeck or Twitter lists to filter & group hashtags and users of interest
  • Engage your partners in cross-promotion of events & content on their social channels
  • Encourage volunteers to share their experience online
  • Make it easy for audiences to experience and add to your story
  • Experiment with GIFs and animated imagery
  • Complement use of free/low-cost tools with paid promotion on major social networks
  • Remember that social media works best when it’s part of an integrated campaign

 Alex Kepnes, director, corporate communications, Humana

  • It’s not about you, and yet it is. People outside your respective companies are looking to learn through stories, not the products and services you sell.
  • Don’t be afraid to stand-alone. Content that senior leaders create themselves must not be afraid to harbor a different perspective.
  • Go beyond your company. No one company is going to simply solve all the problems of a given industry. If that’s the case, our content should never assume it will.

Britt Klontz, digital PR consultant, marketing team lead, Distilled

  • Make sure objectives are specific and measurable
  • Diversify your content strategy so that you’re not betting on one sole tactic
  • Make 20% of your media list be outlets that the c-suite reads
  • Set aside budget to invest in highly targeted paid social tactics

Mobilizing Influencers to Mitigate a Brand Crisis in Real Time

Stacey Miller, senior manager, communications, Cision

  • Do the proactive work, make sure the relationships are there and are strong.
  • Give your influencer a call, an email or just stop by to brief them on the situation.
  • Arm your influencers with messaging and data (if needed).
  • Start with network sharing, then pitch the influencers to media, or let the influencers go to the media.
  • Reward influencers with incentives that add value to their careers.
  • Your best influencers will act on their own. Identify and elevate them.

June 7, 2016 

Use Data to Spark Business-Minded Creativity on Social Media

Greg Kunkel, senior marketing communications program manager, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Kevin Kautzky, communications group manager – energy and environment, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

  • Gather the data, paint the picture and tell the story
  • Embrace the communications and IT nexus. Close the gap between the departments to understand IT’s priorities and help both departments become more efficient.
  • Find tools you’ll actually use so your not wasting time and money on things that don’t help prove the value of your work.
  • Find victories that resonate with leadership to get everyone invested in social media. Remember that testimonials are data too. Endorsements by other senior leaders will help get the message across to late bloomers.
  • Understand and work through pain points that employees and other departments might have. Some people won’t like all the social work you do. Make sure to explain how social helps get your message out to a broader audience.
  • Bake measurement into everything so executives can understand exactly how a campaign progressed through its lifecycle.
  • Embrace your failures as a learning opportunity.

How to Turn Your PR & Marketing Content Into Positive Trending News Across Visual Media

Scott Fedonchik, vice president of marketing, Business Wire

  • Include compelling multimedia with your news release. High-quality images are great, but packaged video/b-roll drives views, engagement and shares.
  • Socialize your news release directly from the Business Wire web page…it drives views and NUVI social measurement through your keyword tags.
  • Amplify your releases across all channels with social sharing
  • Experiment with new communication platforms
  • Help journalists meet metrics by sharing your coverage everywhere
  • Turn highly viewed and shared news releases into compelling video content.

Track A: Influencer Campaigns on a Tight Budget

Joshua Habursky, senior manager of grassroots advocacy, American Diabetes Association

  • Build a community that will relay your message to influencers.
  • Create compelling, controversial and visual content.
  • Connect online and offline activities.
  • Inform community on campaign results.
  • Create a platform for constant action and engagement.
  • Bolster your reach with media and celebrities on social media/.
  • Know the rules for working with paid influencers under current law.
  • A single disclosure on a homepage or a single webpage is not sufficiently conveying an endorser to advertiser relationship.

Clay Helm, public relations director, Autodesk

  • Immersive research yields the best influencer prospects.
  • Focus on limited numbers and limited time engagements
  • Assess your results and direct your resources to the top performers.
  • The power of in-person experiences has quantifiable and lasting impact.
  • Identify influencers by knowing what audience you want to reach and think in terms of quality, not quantity.
  • Be prepared to invest time in influencer programs.
  • Look for rising stars rather than established influencers to get the best bang for your buck.

Konstanze Alex-Brown, corporate social influencer relations manager, Dell

  • People trust people, not logos. Influencers are essential for building up reputation in the marketplace.
  • Work to deepen the relationship with influencers by confirming common interests and points of view.
  • Consult with the people you work with on market vision and strategic decision to build trust with influencers.
  • Present a clear ROI for both sides of the equation by committing to jointly influencing each other to create a symbiotic relationship.

Track B: How to Make Video Work for Your Brand

Patricia Garofalo, communications strategy leader, Soteryx

  • Think about your content in the context of these questions: Is my content interesting? Does it have longevity? Can it be repurposed to suit multiple channel or audiences.
  • Repurposing content helps to save time and budget, reinforces your message and promotes recall and reaches different audiences at different times in the purchasing cycle.
  • Optimize your videos by writing interesting summaries, following basic SEO guidelines and adding calls-to-action.
  • Measure your success by tracking inquiries received or lead tracking metrics, number of views, average amount of time watched and social engagement.

Tod Plotkin, founder and principal, Green Buzz Agency

  • The goal of your video should be to engage your audience on an emotional level, not to go viral with a random audience.
  • Videos don’t need to be certain length. Whatever length keeps people engaged is all that matters. If it’s boring, shorten it.
  • Instagram videos are most effective when they give your users something of value, or have a strong call to action for user engagement.
  • Advancements in video technology are bringing costs down and making corporate videos more competitive with content on TV and in film.
  • Use movement and slow motion in your productions to really increase the quality of your video content.

Track A: How to Be a Brand Communications Champion on Twitter 

Alexandra Kirsch Thompson, vice president, social strategy and content marketing, Finn Partners

  • Evaluate each post’s reach on a monthly basis. Reach will help indicate how far a post traveled and how many people actually viewing it beyond the feed audience.
  • Silently observe with listening tools or search to understand target audience behaviors, conversation drivers and engagement motivators.
  • Get they lay of the land with respect to your core messages and demand for information on key topic areas.
  • Understand where Twitter fits into your brand’s broader social ecosystem.
  • Take brand-aligned content risks.
  • Create smart opportunities with like-minded influencers.
  • Curate refreshed content through existing brand assets.
  • Embrace real-time opportunities in real time by knowing what’s trending, taking risks with those trends, understanding what success looks like and leaving the past in the past.

Track B: Is Snapchat Right for Your Organization

Gavin Donovan, digital strategy lead, Mission Foods

  • Secure your account now. The last thing you want to do is decide to get on the platform and have your name as Brand17362.
  • Define your target audience so you can have an idea of the content you’d like to produce.
  • Educate internally constantly. Don’t let someone’s kid be the one explaining Snapchat to the CEO.
  • Don’t be the “awkward dad” on Snapchat. Don’t burst into conversations with a direct sell. If you’re not adding value, stay out.

Laura Wilson, director of digital engagement & social media, Georgetown University

  • Leverage client, customer or employee stories to show “day-in-the-life” content.
  • Use incentives and unique codes to track Snapchat community to track actual sales or sign-ups.
  • Simple, low cost contests can significantly increase engagement and followership on the platform.
  • Launch hyperlocal geofilter campaigns to reach highly targeted audiences.
  • Use creation hacks and invest in scheduling tools to up-level your presence on Snapchat and measure with ease.

Paid Social: Where Borders Blur Between PR & Marketing

Katie Creaser, vice president, Affect

  • Promoted posts don’t guarantee ROI. Consider video length, tone and if it has a call to action.
  • Are images sharable, clearly add value and relevant?
  • Written content shouldn’t be too promotional, un-scan-able or uninteresting.
  • Only measure the metrics that matter to your specific organization and campaign. Set them at the beginning of a campaign and track them all the way through.
  • Make your metrics dashboard readable and it should tell a story.

Abdul Muhammad, vice president of digital development, rbb Public Relations

  • Now more than ever user data is available to use for precise targeting and to increase conversion.
  • Video is a must—use it wisely across all platforms and devices.
  • Balance both paid and earned social marketing tactics.
  • Think about how what you learn from one campaign can be applied to other business decisions.
  • Optimize your content toward whatever the end-goal is.
  • Build demographics by interest, real-time location and online behavior.
  • Don’t resort to clickbaiting—Ask yourself why someone should stop scrolling.

Beth C. Perell, vice president communications and information management, Goodwill Industries International

  • Content has to be fun and engaging to be successful in a paid campaign.
  • A successful campaign doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
  • Paid social should be part of an overall campaign or objective.
  • Try different approaches to understand what your audience will respond to.
  • Try different approaches to understand what your audience will respond to.

Visual Storytelling With Instagram

Lauren Cochran, director, interactive marketing and new media, Miami Heat

  • Strategize and know your own brand story. In order to become a great content creator you need to understand the brand itself.
  • Capitalize on you audiences emotions and passions.
  • A picture could truly say 1000 words. Know that a caption isn’t always necessary.
  • Listen to your audience: what they say and the actions they take can inform your strategy, so think before you post.
  • When you have great content that produces even greater engagement, revenue will follow.
  • Try new thing. Sometimes they pay off handsomely.

John Lane, chief strategy officer, Centerline Digital

  • The conventions of the channel are more important that than conventions of your brand. It’s okay to break your own rules.
  • Take advantage of the platform’s truly mobile form factor.
  • Extend stories through unique micro-content.
  • Empower your influencers in unique ways.
  • Invite your fans to be part of the creation process.
  • Take advantage of Instagram as a feedback look. Make Instagram an incubator for other content and strategies.

Case Study: Silo-Busting and Collaboration in Digital Communications Success 

Brandi Boatner, digital experience manger, IBM Global Technology Services

  • Apply the C.A.R.S method:
    • Communications
      • Avoid wasting time on calls and communications.
      • Collaborate effectively.
      • As you work across various departments, avoid electronic clutter. Make communications clear, concise and to the point as to what is needed and should be accomplished assigning a timeline of deliverables.
    • Agenda
      • Make sure everyone involved in the project understands not only the project but their role in making the project a success.
    • Research
      • Make sure you research what other department’s role is in the project and some of their challenges and opportunities. Ask yourself, what information do you or the PR department have that might be useful to others not in your department?
    • Skills
      • Everyone has a role to play on the team. Capitalize on the collective intelligence and wisdom of the team to ensure success. You might even pick up a new skill!

June 8, 2016 

Messaging Apps to Watch—and Maybe Use for Your Brand

Brian Weber, corporate communicator

Ingrid Kibler, social media director, HCK2

  • WhatsApp is cheaper than SMS, only requires WiFi and is great for staying in touch with people worldwide.
  • Facebook Messenger has over 1.5 billion users, offers API access for bots and messaging tools, and its business focus will only improve
  • Snapchat is hugely popular but has several drawbacks:
    • Brands can’t easily access data to measure the reach of their Snaps
    • It’s hard for users to find corporate accounts and follow brands because there is no search capability
    • Taco Bell says they don’t even have an exact count of friends. “We never know how many we have.”
  • Yik Yak is anonymous, groups messages by location and is popular with college students. However it is of little use to brands. One possible use is monitoring chatter in your area to learn what consumers want.
  • WeChat is China’s version of Facebook. Users can play games, make video calls, order food and more. Recommended for companies with audiences in China.
  • Line is popular in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan. Similar to Skype, Users exchange text, images, video and audio. Brands are charged to participate; can be costly.
  • Viber is popular in the U.S. and India. Brands can sponsor sticker packs and users who download automatically become their follower on Public Chat.

The $1,000 Championship for Best Crisis Team

Allison Steinberg, communications strategist, ACLU

  • When communicating during crisis, L.A.P.A.: Listen, assess, plan, activate.
  • Halt proactive communications
  • Have a crisis plan in place
  • Be nimble and timely
  • Apologize if wrongdoing was committed
  • Outline how you’re going to fix it
  • Follow up to show how you’ve remedied it
  • Think holistically about the channels available

Pia De Lima, VP, corporate communications, The Americas and European Union, Western Union

An example crisis response team and their responsibilities:

    • Devise communication strategy
    • Analyse and counsel reputational risks
    • Update team on breaking media issues
    • Update team on progress of communications activities (internal / external)
    • Regular contact with crisis liaison manager
    • Attend taskforce briefings
    • Trouble shooter / Issues manager and overall review of comms strategy
    • Drive supporting functions
    • Review content / Key message rehearsal
    • Media liaison to clarify issues/content
    • Coordinate media interviews
    • External spokesperson/s
    • Signatory to internal communications
    • Media call management
    • Answer calls & log for action
    • Media monitoring
    • Real time monitoring of all channels
    • Feed results to crisis liaison manager
    • Media Release/Blog/Responses
    • Media interviews/conferences
    • Rapid response content
    • Key message house
    • Media releases / blogs/ Social posts background
    • External content
    • Internal content
    • Image/photo archive
    • Case studies
    • Communicate with external stakeholders
    • Media Release
    • Letters / email
    • Communicate with internal stakeholders
    • Email / notices
    • Staff meeting
    • Website/Blog liaison

Great Ideas From This Week’s Conference

Greg Kunkel, senior marketing communications program manager, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Kevin Kautzky, communications group manager - Energy and Environment, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Ingrid Kibler, social media director, HCK2

  • What you think shouldn’t be popular oftentimes is
  • Help journalists meet their metrics by sharing your coverage everywhere
  • People like people, not logos
  • It’s about the quality, not the quantity, of your influencers
  • Know the rules when working with influencers
  • Consider the longevity of your video
  • Real life is 24fps; smart phones can shoot at 60fps
  • Stop them mid-scroll
  • Don’t be the awkward dad on Snapchat
  • Meet people where they are
  • Strike the right balance between PR and marketing
  • PR pros should be content producers with the metrics-focused mind of a marketer
  • A successful campaign doesn’t have to cost a lot of money
  • A picture could truly say 1,000 words; a caption isn’t always necessary
  • Empower your influencers in unique ways
  • Pick up the phone and call the person
  • Messaging apps could become the new norm